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Man visiting Cook County Jail trapped in room for 30 hours

A man who went to Cook County Jail to visit his son last weekend was trapped in a visitor’s room for about 30 hours — from Saturday evening to early Monday.

Because his son had been transferred from the Division 11 holding area at 3015 S. California Blvd., the man was directed to go to Division 9, an area he had not visited before, on the compound of the jail at 2854 W. 31st St., said Cara Smith, executive director of the jail.

When he entered Division 9, he was processed and directed to “go down the hallway and turn to the right.”

But he went through the wrong visitor door. That door was propped open and it shut behind him, Smith said. A contractor had been installing new cameras in the room earlier in the day.

He banged on the door, but Smith said the door and walls of the room he was locked in were too thick for anyone to have heard him.

“There’s about two feet of cement and two steel doors between him and the outside,” Smith said.

The man eventually broke off part of a sprinkler head early Monday, which caused flooding in the room and activated an alarm, Smith said. Firefighters responded about 1:30 a.m. and were able to free him. Smith said he had a minor thumb injury but was otherwise all right.

“While we thank God he’s safe, we’re looking at every single aspect of this case,” Smith said. “This has never happened, to my knowledge, before.”



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